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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Coyote Beautiful

My two trusty dogs and I were out walking really early this morning. It has been so hot lately that I wanted to go while it was cooler. There aren't a lot of folks out that early so imagine our surprise when we see a coyote running down Egan Crest....

He stopped at the stop sign, looked both ways, and then turned right on Tropical. He was really moving fast, but well under the speed limit.

We are happy to report that the coyotes in our area are law abiding, upstanding citizens.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Let's Get Out The Butt-Kicking Machine

So wherever it is you live I hope things are better financially...because in Las Vegas the economy is really, really bad. Losing a house is no longer news.....staying in your house is what is noteworthy.

And since no ideas, or counsel, is coming from our leaders, I conclude none of them have an idea of what to do. One of our Senators is the majority leader, he never comes to Las would be nice to know what he is thinking. And I couldn't pick our other Senator out of a line-up if the rest were bass. He was appointed because John Ensign resigned in disgrace. We have three congressmen....none have addressed our situation in any significant way.

I just want one leader, one breathing, thinking leader to stand up and do something!! One person that is all I am asking for who can stand up and give us hope...but all I hear are crickets. We, who pay for our community to exist, are running out of money. And then what happens?

It is reported that unemployment here is 14%, I am sure that number should be doubled. There is no work and none coming. No construction, no jobs, no hope.

If Nevadans have work they are worried they will keep it, if they don't have work they have little hope of finding any. If you are near retirement, you were hit the hardest....IRA's are decimated, homes are worth pennies of what they were...and finding work is, well, not fruitful, and my health insurance costs have gone up $200 a month this last a staggering $1250 a month for a family of four with good health. It is unsustainable.

Our homes are so underwater there is no recovery. Homes that were overpriced at $350,000 are now under priced at $95,000. Are people walking away from these homes? No, but they are running away from them. The whole country is 50% off, but Las Vegas is 80% off. It is hard to ask someone to stay in a home they paid $200,000 for when their neighbor is paying on a mortgage of $80,000. And the banks are happy to move a family out of home they can no longer afford, but then sell it to another for pennies....I don't get it.

I don't know why anyone stays. I have lived here for over 40 years, and things have been bad, then better, but we always had hope...and things got better.

So here is the obvious message from Nevada...we have given up. I don't see another communication. Our decline started in a real significant way when the president announced to the country not to go to Las Vegas. He was referring to corporations that he felt were over spending by scheduling conventions in Las Vegas...for him it was a throw away line......he was looking for a bit more austerity....Las Vegas felt the impact the next day. Room reservations were cancelled, conventions were cancelled and jobs started to vanish.....

And then it really got bad.

Don't get me wrong, in hindsight most of us would have made a lot of decisions differently. That is the way of the world, we try something it doesn't work, so we stop and try something different......but rarely is it such devastation. Starting over at thirty is much different than starting over at 60. In fact lesser people would not do it.

However, my family refuses to give up. We are going to start a business in the worst possible time. I am grateful we have an idea, I am grateful for talent we have. And maybe even a little grateful for not having a choice....desperation drives you to do things inertia might keep you from doing otherwise. And when I run into road blocks as I try and start this business, and I will, I will squeal louder than anyone should.

We have to realize we are dependent on each other. The trickle down theory is not for the wealthy only....when one person gets financially afraid, they stop going to the dry cleaners, and the dog groomer....they don't order a pizza, or send flowers...and the economy stops. So if you can afford it, and you need it, get a new oven, go out to eat, get your nasty feet done! In other words, spend your money if you can.

I am not apologetic for writing this today. I am the voice of so many who have no idea where to turn. And really tired of being ignored. If you disagree with anything I have said, tell me. I hope I am stirring up hornets...because until the right people get stung nothing is going to change.

I am looking for a butt-kicking machine.

And to think the French Revolution started because of dessert......

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

We are all made of "Better Stuff"

I am getting close to a real life changer, and I am happily, strangely calm. It's not like I am about to walk on the moon, or have a kidney transplant, I am just getting ready to close a chapter of my life and step into another.

First I would like to say that I am so grateful to my Heavenly Father that I was able to follow my heart for the last thirty years and stay at home with my children. It wasn't always easy and I know there was a lot of sacrifice from my husband to provide that blessing and to honor my choice. I am so grateful to have been able to follow my heart and I acknowledge the help I have been given.

I know where that blessing came from.

And now I open the door to new possibilities and new adventures. As I look back on the last thirty years I am grateful not only for being able to be with my children but so grateful for the people who have accompanied me on that journey. Women who stood shoulder to shoulder with me through breastfeeding and diapers, kindergarten and PTA.....helping me with my marriage, sharing their own trials and making me a better woman, mother and wife.
Those amazing people who cheered with me and cried with me......some that I have only met through letters and emails.....but who are just as important to me as those I see all the time. I am grateful to my Uncle who stoically, and unemotionally reminded me that I was made of better stuff the night before I was to give the eulogy for my mother. I walked to the podium the next morning knowing I could do hard things.....because I was made of better stuff. Words that course through my soul often. I will never forget those who came to the hospital when I had babies, when my children were in danger and when my parents were going through the end of their lives....I will never forget their faces as they came to my home for dinners, firesides, lunches and even a few funerals! Oh the incredible people who have left their imprint on my life forever. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

I have changed so much over the last thirty years. Thank goodness right? But the biggest change in my life is realizing what I can do, what I can accomplish...the lives I can touch....what kindness can reap...and what unkindness can return. Oh how important that is....and that can only come with experience, and lessons learned and relearned.

I am grateful to all of those people along this journey who have taken the time to love me, teach me, laugh with me and cry with me. And mostly who have forgiven me for my shortcomings. Forgiveness is the greatest gift we can give each other.

And so while it is sad to move on and say goodbye to every day mothering, I do it with great hope that the next part of my life will be as fulfilling as the last has been. My pattern has been to never give up and to pray as hard as I can to know what the Lord wants me to do. And then when I discern what He wants then to do all I can to follow that direction. What I am leaving behind is carefully locked in my heart as the best memories a person can have.

I have made a great many mistakes, I have not been the perfect mother or wife...I never thought I could be and sometimes I didn't want to be!! But my heart has always been with my family, I will always consider myself a wife and mother first because that is the desire of my heart. Now that role changes and I know I will handle that just like I have handled all the other changes in my life. I am confident in the abilities God has given me. And one ability He gives us is to survive and never give up......I will always try to encourage everyone around me to never give up.....that is the greatest lesson my earthly parents taught is what I see in my husband. I hope I have instilled it in my children.

Just as I have been helped.......I will return those blessings. I hope to mirror the kindness and love shown to me all these years.

So to all the people who have supported me along this journey.....I am a better person because of you. For all of you have been there when I needed it most and I am better for it. I learned from you what to do when tragedy to love, how to react to pain, how to celebrate and simply how to walk this life with honesty.

I consider myself blessed beyond all measure because of you. As they beautifully say in Texas, "I love all y'all!"

And to my husband a special thank you and my eternal love....he knows me best and still loves me. To my children, you will never know how grateful I am to you for letting me be your mom. You have given me such joy. I love you.

And never stop believing.....

Thursday, August 4, 2011

When Stevie Nicks calls.....

Will you be ready with fresh and friendly banter when Stevie Nicks calls? If you are afraid of not having anything interesting to talk about I have a few suggestions...we can fill the gaps in your life with some from ours.

The other day my son and I were delivering food and I felt the need to PANIC, loudly, because we were late. Trey is great at football analogies and he calmly stated that by panicking I was not showing my best game face. He reminded me about Joe Montana and the 1989 Super Bowl against the Cincinnati Bengals. The San Francisco 49ers were down by three points with 3:20 left when Montana spotted -- no, not an open receiver -- but a personality. "Isn't that John Candy?" And then he led the 49ers 92 yards, throwing for the winning touchdown with 34 seconds left.

Calm under pressure....if I was the quarterback with 34 seconds left..I might be throwing up in the huddle....just saying. But isn't that kind of confidence inspiring?

I want that kind of confidence.....but I digress......
This next part is hard....Two weeks from today my youngest child goes off to college. On every level that is hard. And since life is just a little bit harder for me than everyone else then here goes.... I may not survive. We went "dorm shopping" the other day....I was the picture of decorum, I only cried one time...

They are oh so excited to be on their own and that triggered such interesting conversations...How does the wash work? How many blankets do I need? Can I leave my shampoo in the bathroom? She has been in charge since she was one has more confidence. I know she will be fine...I however have to face the fact that this one part of my life has changed....forever.

The good news? I can use my "7 ways to use a chicken breast" on someone who may listen.
After she leaves there will be time to adjust....but for now, she still needs me a little....

So cute!

I will be fine, but isn't it interesting that it is a lot easier to adjust to starting a family than it is to adjust to having them leave....just saying.

Now on to more fun times to tell Stevie when she calls...
Ashleigh was celebrating a birthday and wanted to go to the Wynn for their brunch buffet. Sounds civilized doesn't it? Brunch? In Las Vegas a buffet means only one thing, strap on your big eating pants and go for a ride. Because, my friend, you will have to wait for a fork lift to take you back to the car.

In the mean time we all looked fabulous....especially the birthday girl.

But first we had to find it......

Convenient that the Ferrari dealership is right outside.

Unfortunately, this is all we could afford, peaking in the window. It costs ten dollars to go in..... Just to look!

These shops are amazing.....

The shoes are a work of art.

You have to at least look, right?

A dear friend of ours is in charge of all the plants and flowers at the Wynn.
He and his staff do an incredible job.

I thought this sign was hysterical. My dad was in the gaming business his whole life, and slot machines used to be something for the wives to do while they waited for their husbands. Nickel slots and then, gasp, a quarter. Now you can sit down and play a hundred dollars at a time. Can you imagine? No skill, just sit down and put a hundred dollars in a machine, hit a button and wait for chance to occur.
At least blackjack and Craps have some skill.....even with that, it's still a strange thing to do.
It's odd that money has so little value when folks are convinced they can get something for nothing.
By the way, you can't get something for nothing.

Don't you love eating in a place that is so festive? Even though we waited in line the same amount of time we would have if we were at Disneyland. But instead of Indiana Jones at the end, we enjoyed all you could eat shrimp....amazing!

Great time, great belts.....Vegas buffets, eating for sport.

And then after brunch, all a girl needs on her birthday is a small bag from Tiffany's.

Ashleigh is absolutely amazing, I count myself blessed every day to be her mom.
Happy Birthday!!